‘Blackness and Light’


I’m a big fan of black and white photography. Yes, color is fantastic, but there are times when shifting to a monochrome format helps to focus the eye and draw out detail by removing the distraction of color.

The other day I set myself a challenge – do something different with black and white. A pretty broad remit, but I let this idea rattle around in my head for a bit and came up with this. It’s a shot of a roadside waterfall I took in Scotland. And by ‘roadside’ I mean a waterfall that had just appeared on the side of the road because it had rained heavily. Despite being only about 8 feet tall, I thought it was an amazing – and impromptu – sight.

What I’ve done here is remove a lot of the detail from the rocks and the surroundings and focused instead on the interaction of the water with the rocks and the light, and used this to pull out the details from the surface. This means I can focus in on the interaction between these elemental forms without everything else in the exposure screaming for attention.

What’s really odd is that after I processed the image, something clicked. I realized that this is how my brain had seen this little waterfall in the first place. While the camera catches every little detail – from the sky and the surroundings to the tiny blades of grass – my mind had removed all this. What drew me to this waterfall was the interaction of the water and the rocks and how this affected the light, and this image does something similar.

I’d like to print this out, but I fear that it eat a lot of black ink, so I might get it done professionally.